Freezing weather claims 26 lives in Central Europe

Freezing weather has claimed 26 lives across Central Europe where temperatures plunged to -33 degrees Celsius.

Updated: Dec 02, 2010, 21:39 PM IST

Warsaw: Freezing weather has claimed 26
lives across Central Europe this week including 18 deaths in
Poland where temperatures plunged to minus 33 degrees Celsius
(minus 27.4 Fahrenheit), officials said on Thursday.

"Ten people died due to exposure over the last 24
hours across Poland after eight died on Tuesday," Poland`s
national police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski told a news agency.
Alcohol and homelessness are common factors in the
deaths and the victims are primarily men, aged 35 to 60, he
added.

Alcohol and homelessness also played a role in the
freezing deaths of four men aged 47 to 61 in the neighbouring
Czech Republic over the last 48 hours, police confirmed.

In Lithuania, cold weather has also claimed four
lives.

Heavy snow overnight Wednesday to Thursday forced the
closure of the international airport in the Czech capital
Prague and wreaked havoc on road and railway networks,
officials confirmed.

Heavy snowfall earlier this week grounded flights and
caused transport chaos on Poland`s road and rail networks.

Temperatures plunged Tuesday night to minus 33 degrees Celsius
(minus 27.4 Fahrenheit) in the eastern city of Bialystok near
Poland`s eastern border with Belarus.

Authorities in Poland have 3,000 prison inmates armed
with shovels on standby to clear snow and ice.

PTI